Thursday, July 9, 2009

My 5 1/2 Year Evolution From Stringer to Wrapper

Vintage Style
Wire Wrapped

Beaded Design

Beaded Chain, layered,
filigree wrapped.

No, I'm not going to talk to you about becoming a Hip Hop artist-- that's not what I mean by Wrapper. What I'm going to talk about is my evolution from being a bead stringer to a wire wrapper. Be patient and I'll tell all.

Most of the time when you begin the art of jewelry making you learn about putting beads on string or wire. Yea, I know that doesn't sound too hard. Well, you're right it really isn't--but the "art" of it is how you design the beads, how you combine the colors, the shapes, the sizes--that's one of the secrets to being a good stringer. But of course that's not all--that's the simplest part of it--the more difficult part which you really have to practice is the crimping of the ends so the beads don't fall off and you can put your clasp on properly. Are you asking yourself what the heck is crimping? Well, a crimp is a little metal tube or tiny metal bead ( 1x1mm,2x2mm and so on...)that you place at the end of your beading wire to attach the clasp and close that side of your bracelet, necklace,or anklet up. There's a special tool called a crimping tool to squeeze the crimp together. Actually this is fairly easy--but now you have to attach the other side of your clasp. Aha! Here's the difficult part that most beaders agonize over in the beginning. It's difficult because you have to close up your crimp so that your piece of jewelry is taut and not loose with the beads moving up and back. It may not seem like a difficult thing but it truly is, believe me. Just ask any one who is a jewelry maker. There's a lot of practicing getting it just right.

Well, it took a little time and frustration but I did learn the secret of good crimping and had fun thinking up different designs for my beaded (strung) creations. But, alas I was in need of some more challenging techniques. So, now I began doing some basic wire wrapping. Making loops so that I could make beaded chains and making bails for pendants. But, of course after a bit I again needed something a tad more challenging. It was about this time that I began to admire "vintage" style jewelry which included using filigrees, setting stones, wrapping stones in filigrees, using lots of bead caps, and layering. I was like a kid in a candy store with all these new things to learn. I really love a challenge--it motivates me so! So many different types of filigrees and stones and ways to layer for a more detailed look. I am still so into making "vintage" style jewelry. I guess it fulfills that romantic side of me which is usually hidden deep down inside. I so get a "kick" out of hearing people tell me that my jewelry pieces are romantic.

So now I have conquered the techniques of stringing, simple wire wrapping, stone setting, filigree wrapping, and layering. Yes, once again I felt the need to learn something new and I found it after seeing a number of wire wrapped creations. I found that I wanted to learn some of the techniques. There is so much personal creativity in wire wrapping. You can design your own links, your own clasps, you can wrap pendants, stones and beads. The ideas are endless. I am still at the beginning stages of this fabulous technique but I am having so much fun with it.

I already know that after I conquer the many wire wrapping techniques that I would like to start learning the techniques of chainmaille--the jewelry technique of "weaving" with jump rings of different sizes and colors. This too lends itself to a lot of creativity.

But that's not all, I'd love to make my own pendants and beads using polymer clay. This is definitely a never ending journey for me. Here I am 5 1/2 years down this jewelry road and finding it still an exciting craft and still lovin' it. Yep, I've come a long way and you know I still have a long way to go. WooHoo!!!

Enough said for now--ttyl, :o)


  1. Kitty and jewelry maker after my own heart!! :)

  2. Thanks for the kind comment on my blog :)

  3. I love your jewelry. I have many pieces already and you never cease to amaze me.